Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Homemade Oh Henry! Bars: National Nut Day!

Today is National Nut Day, and one of my all time favorite candy bars is an Oh Henry! Bar. Chocolate covered nuts and caramel! Gotta have an Oh Henry!

So what exactly is an Oh Henry! Bar?  

From Wikipedia:
Oh Henry! is a chocolate bar containing peanuts, caramel, and fudge coated in chocolate. It was first introduced in 1920, by the Williamson Candy Company of Chicago, Illinois. According to legend, Oh Henry! was originally named after a boy who frequented the Williamson company, flirting with the girls who made the candy. The name is also said to be a homage to American writer, O. Henry. However, there is no definitive explanation as to the exact origin of the name.

Another theory is that the candy bar was invented by a man named Tom Henry of Arkansas City, Kansas. Tom Henry ran a candy company called the Peerless candy factory, and in 1919 he started making the Tom Henry candy bar. He sold the candy bar to Williamson Candy Company in 1920 where they later changed the name to "Oh Henry!". Henry's family now runs a candy factory in Dexter, Kansas that sells "momma henry" bars, which are nearly identical to the original candy bar.

In 1923, an employee of Williamson, John Glossinger, announced that he was going to make the Oh Henry! bar a national best seller. Company officials said it was impossible and denied him the funds for an advertising campaign. Glossinger went into the streets and pasted stickers saying merely "Oh Henry!" on automobile bumpers. People became curious as to what an Oh Henry! was and sales for the bar rose quickly.

1926 Oh Henry! Advertisement
Nestlé acquired the United States rights to the brand in 1984, and continues to produce the bar. In Canada, the bar is currently sold by The Hershey Company and manufactured at their Smiths Falls, Ontario facilities. Because of Canada's different chocolate standards, the Canadian "Oh Henry!" is not considered a "chocolate bar" and is labelled instead as a "candy bar." In fact, unlike the American version, which labels the bar as "milk chocolate," the Canadian version makes no mention of chocolate on the front of the wrapper. Hershey sells Oh Henry! bars made in Canada on a very limited basis in the United States as Rally bars, using the trademark of a Hershey product introduced in the 1970s and later discontinued.

Want to make your own Oh Henry! Bars? Here are three different recipes. Funny, but several of them include oats. I'm partial to #III because it doesn't include oatmeal, but that's just me. The first two recipes do seem to really capture the flavor.

I. Oh Henry!Candy Bars

Ingredients
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions
Mix together oatmeal, brown sugar, white sugar and melted butter.
Press into greased 9x13 pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter.
Spread over baked bars.
Put in fridge so frosting hardens completely.

II. Oh Henry! Candy Bars 

Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
2 cups oatmeal

Directions
Melt butter, sugar and syrup.
Add oatmeal.
Press in well buttered 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt:
1 c. crunchy peanut butter
1 (6 oz.) chocolate chips

Cool bottom layer and spread mixture over the top.
Refrigerate.
Cut in squares.

III. Oh Henry! Candy Bars (my favorite recipe)

Part One
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:
Combine over heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Cook until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Let cool
Add peanut butter.
Stir, then shape into rolls 3/4 inch thick and 1 inch long.
Set aside.

Part Two
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pounds peanuts, chopped fine
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:
Cook corn syrup and sugar together until it reaches the hard boil stage (265 degrees).
Dip candy from first mixture into second mixture, then roll in peanuts while still hot.
Melt dark chocolate and dip rolls into melted chocolate
Place on parchment paper.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day: Bake in a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Today is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day: Add Chocolate...I love pumpkin and chocolate... and cheesecake is my thing, so here's a repost of an easy recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake! Celebrate.  

Great for Halloween and Thanksgiving!

The filling for this pumpkin cheesecake is adapted from Hershey's Kitchens. I like this recipe because it has a Chocolate Cookie Crust and Mini-Chocolate Chips in the filling! I've posted the Hershey's chocolate crust recipe, but I also posted another simple Chocolate Cookie Crust using Chocolate Wafers. The second is my favorite.

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Ingredients
1 Chocolate Cookie Crust (see two possible recipes below)
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions
1. Prepare Chocolate Cookie Crust. Increase oven temperature to 400°F.
2. Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and pumpkin pie spice in large bowl until well blended. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until well blended. Stir in mini-chocolate chips; pour batter into prepared crust. Bake 10 minutes.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F; continue baking 60 minutes or until almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan. Cool completely; remove side of pan. Refrigerate about 5 hours before serving.

I. CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Stir together 1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (about 30 wafers)
1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter.

Press mixture firmly onto bottom and 1/2-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.
Bake  at 350 F for 8 minutes; cool slightly.

II. CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

30 chocolate wafers (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers makes about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
5 Tbsp sweet butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Put cookies in container of food processor; process until finely ground.
Transfer crumbs to mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until crumbs are moistened.
Press mixture evenly across the bottom of 9-inch springform pan and all the way up sides of pan; pack tightly so crust is even and compacted.
Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes or until crisp.
Let cool completely before filling.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Brandied Fruit Day: Brandied Cherry Chocolate Cake

Today is Brandied Fruit Day. I love this recipe for Brandied Cherry Chocolate Cake that appeared in the Washington Post a few years ago. You can buy brandied cherries -- or you can make your own.

Brandied Cherries

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds dark, sweet cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 small cinnamon stick
1/4 cup good brandy

Directions
Combine sugar, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick in medium saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium. Add cherries and simmer for five minutes.
Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick. Stir in brandy.
Cool completely before placing in jar.

BRANDIED CHERRY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Tip: When processing nuts and chocolate, be careful not to make chocolate almond butter. Chill both ingredients -- and even the flour, if you want to be careful.

Ingredients
6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, chilled (about 1-1/3 cups)
6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) chopped almonds, chilled
 6 1/2 Tbsp flour
12 Tbsp sweet butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
16 ounces drained brandied cherries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a9-inch cake pan with nonstick oil-and-flour spray and line bottom with circle of parchment paper.
Pulse chocolate, almonds and flour in a food processor to grind them into fine meal, being careful not to turn them into a paste.
Beat butter and sugar together at high speed in bowl of stand mixer or held-held electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, then vanilla and almond extracts, and beat well to combine. Add chocolate-nut mixture and beat until incorporated.
Beat egg whites in separate, clean bowl of stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Use flexible spatula to fold them into chocolate-sugar mixture.
Spread half of batter in bottom of prepared pan. Top with brandied cherries, which should fit evenly in 1 layer. Spread remaining batter over cherries, using flexible spatula to lightly level top.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until cake is puffed and set.
Cool on rack and turn out of pan.
Dust top generously with confectioners' sugar.
Serve warm or cool.

Original recipe adapted from Peter Brett, pastry chef at Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.